Yield: 12-14 servings

Ingredients

For the jalapeños:
6-7 medium to large jalapeños
1 large egg
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
30 saltine crackers
4 cups kettle-cooked potato chips
3 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
8 oz. honeyed goat cheese, softened

For the glaze:
6 tbsp. water
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. dried hibiscus flowers
2 habanero peppers, seeded and finely minced**
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. honey

  • step 1: HideShow Images

    Preheat the oven to 450˚ F.  Stem the jalapeños and slice in half lengthwise.  Scrape out the seeds and ribs with a small spoon and discard.*  In a medium bowl, beat the egg and buttermilk together.  Whisk the flour, salt and pepper into the buttermilk mixture.  Combine the saltines and potato chips together in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.  Place half of the crumb mixture in a second shallow baking dish; reserve the other half.

  • step 2: HideShow Images

    Working one at a time, dip the jalapeño halves in the buttermilk mixture, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl, and then dredging in the crumb coating, turning to coat evenly.  When the crumb mixture is low, add the reserved crumb mixture to the dish for dredging the remaining jalapeños.  Transfer the breaded peppers to a plate and set aside.

  • step 3: HideShow Images

    Pour the oil onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Transfer to the oven and heat just until smoking, about 8 minutes.  Tilt the heated sheet to coat evenly with the oil.  Lay the jalapeños in a single layer on the oiled baking sheets.  Bake, flipping the peppers halfway through baking, until golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes total.

  • step 4: HideShow Images

    While the oil is heating and the peppers are baking, make the glaze.  Combine the water, brown sugar, hibiscus flowers, habanero, and honey in a small saucepan.  Warm over medium-high heat just until the sugar has dissolved.  Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the syrup has thickened, about 5-8 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.

  • step 5: HideShow Images

    When the jalapeños are well browned on both sides, flip cut side up and fill each pepper with some of the honeyed goat cheese. (I used a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip for this, and it made filling the peppers quick and easy.)  Return the pan to the oven and bake 3-5 minutes more, until the goat cheese is warm and melty.  Transfer the warm peppers to a serving dish and drizzle with the glaze.  Serve immediately.

  • step 6: HideShow Images

    *The seeds and ribs are where the heat of the jalapeño lies, so if you want a lot of heat, leave some of them in.

    **If you fully ribbed and seeded the jalapeños, the habaneros are the main source of heat in this dish.  For extra heat, use additional habaneros when making the glaze.